Beat Circus "These Wicked Things"


Beat Circus has just released a new record These Wicked Things, their first in 10 years, on the Innova label. The record is the final chapter in the band’s Weird American Gothic trilogy, starting with Dreamland in 2008 and continuing with Boy From Black Mountain in 2009. You can purchase the album on Bandcamp in digital, CD, and 180g vinyl formats.

Here’s what the press is saying…

"A masterpiece of atmosphere, evoking dark, strange corners of the American experience." -- Mark Sullivan, 4.5/5 stars in All About Jazz

"Beat Circus is a bona fide Boston music part edgy, eclectic art ensemble, one part twangy, moody roots-rock outfit, combined in an instantly appealing mix." -- Steve Smith, National Sawdust

"Impressively put together as a holistic work, with lots of production-based ear candy...a thoroughly enjoyable and rich album." -- Andrew Marrocco, Spill Magazine 8/10 stars

"Full of surreal audio landscapes put together in strange and often unsettling ways" - John Schaefer, WNYC New Sounds

"An excellent album, buzzing with ideas and unrelentingly following its dark muse" -- Jonathan Aird, Americana UK, 8/10 stars

"A sound scavenged from a virtual musical bazaar — from noir jazz and dark cowboy soundtracks to steampunk chamber music and gringo mariachi, with stark, black-and-white illustrations from graphic novelist Danijel Zezelj" -- James Sullivan, Boston Globe

"Spoken-word tales and musical narratives of death, darkness and dashed dreams..." Darryl Sterdan of Tinnitist

"With an excellent choice of collaborators (guitarist Andrew Sternparticularly shines), Giant Sand, Calexico and Neko Case producer Craig Schumacher, the biggest chunk of the parts go to Carpenter himself, with deadpan vocals and all of the instrumental embellishments he put in himself." -- Ljubinko Zivkovic, Soundblab, 8/10 stars

GTO Plays Moondog

For the past 12 months Ghost Train Orchestra has been working on a new project reimagining the music of Louis Hardin, a.k.a. MOONDOG. Moondog was a blind composer who lived and worked on the streets of Manhattan from the 1940s until 1972, when he settled in Germany. He wrote songs, sonatas, canons, madrigals, and symphonies, influencing both Philip Glass (with whom he lived for a year) and Steve Reich. His music is unique and impossible to categorize. 

Our debut performance will be Saturday January 5th at the NYC Winter Jazzfest, 6pm at SubCulture as part of the half-day marathon. Tickets available here.

GTO leader Brian Carpenter and Moondog biographer Robert Scotto were guests on Irwin Chusid's radio show on WFMU celebrating the work of Moondog earlier this year. You can listen to that entire program here.

Book of Rhapsodies Vol. II


Ghost Train Orchestra released our fourth album last month, Book of Rhapsodies Vol. II, a collection of reimagined miniature symphonies from the late 1930s and early 1940s. You can order it on Amazon, iTunes, or our online store.

We're excited to be returning to Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola at Lincoln Center on Tuesday January 2nd to celebrate the release of our new album Book of Rhapsodies Vol. II. Dizzy's is one of the best sounding venues for jazz in the city and we hope you'll join us for this rare performance of music from the Book of Rhapsodies series.

The new album has been getting great press. Read some below. You can also hear a recent interview I did on Radio Winchcombe UK on the history of the band and Book of Rhapsodies at this soundcloud link.

"What makes all of this music work are Carpenter’s total dedication to the arrangements, his love of these bygone composers and a sense of pure, joyous fun...the only thing better than listening to this music is hearing it live." -- Frank Alkyer, Downbeat

"The voices add a lush new dimension...sassy, funny, and sometimes quite outstanding piece of work" -- Jerome Wilson, All About Jazz

Tuesday January 2nd
Book of Rhapsodies II Release Party
Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola
10 Columbus Circle
New York City NY
7:30 & 9:30pm sets

Advance reservations here

Confessions for a New Year

Confessions + Big Lazy Jan 26 @ Atwoods

Happy new year! The above photograph was taken a couple years ago by Heather Byington behind an abandoned church in the ghost town of Amboy, CA in the Mojave Desert during the filming of "Savior of Love". If you haven't already, go watch the video we made with the great filmmaker Dan Huiting here and read the great piece by Linda Laban on the making of the record at the Village Voice.

We're working on new songs and making plans to record again this year. And we're excited to start the year off be reuniting with our friends from the acclaimed NYC noir trio BIg Lazyon Thursday January 26th at Atwoods in Cambridge. As Gavin will be on an extended tour in Europe with E (with Thalia Zedek and Jason Sanford), we will be playing this show with a stripped-down lineup. Big Lazy (now in their 20th year!) is a guitar trio led by guitarist Stephen Ulrich, who is fashioned out a singular sound with this great ensemble. Advance tickets are now available here.

Thursday January 26
Big Lazy
Brian Carpenter & The Confessions
Atwood's Tavern
877 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02141
(617) 864-2792
$10 advance tickets

"Big Lazy, the elegantly gritty instrumental trio led by the extraordinary guitarist Stephen Ulrich plays stunningly beautiful music that evokes everything from truckers' romps to the haunting film scores of Bernard Hermann." ~ The New Yorker

"Brian Carpenter's most revealing band yet...Americana by way of David Lynch's LostHighway" -- James Reed, Boston Globe Best of 2015


Engineer Chris Schultz working on the first Confessions record at Wavelab Recording Studios in Tucson AZ

Beat Circus Mixing in Tucson This Month

Since late May of last year, we have been busy recording and laying down tracks with Rafi Sofer in Somerville and Bryce Goggin in Brooklyn for what looks to be an epic and sprawling new Beat Circus record. I can't wait to share it with you all. In a few weeks I will be traveling to Tucson AZ to team up again with the great engineer/producer Craig Schumacher, best known for his work with Calexico, to begin mixdown on the record at Wavelab Recording Studios. This will be the band's third release in a trilogy of "Weird American Gothic" albums starting with Dreamland, recorded ten years ago. To follow more photos and developments on the making of the new record, visit us on Facebook or on Instagram.


Beat Circus Returns to the Studio

Beat Circus returned to the studio earlier this month for the first time in 8 years to record our next full-length studio album with Rafi Sofer at Q Division (Somerville) and Bryce Goggin at Trout Recording (Brooklyn.) This album is the third part in a trilogy of records I began 10 years ago, starting with Dreamland (2008) and Boy From Black Mountain (2009). We're very excited about the sound of this record. We have more recording to do this summer and we plan to mix in the fall. You can see more photos on our Facebook page.

Brian Carpenter, Paul Dilley, Andrew Stern, and Gavin McCarthy of Beat Circus and Rafi Sofer at Q Division Studios, Somerville MA

Spring confessions


Brian Carpenter, Jen Kenneally, and Georgia Young of The Confessions at Lizard Lounge by Steve Benoit / Boston Concert Photography

Join us on Friday April 8th, when we'll be playing a unique, mostly acoustic, show at the intimate Lilypad in Cambridge with our good friends Gun Mother. We'll be performing new songs, plus old songs we haven't performed in years, rearranged for piano and highlighting the voices and words. Gun Mother, featuring Georgia Young of The Confessions and my long-time friend Adam Glasseye, has just recently released some beautiful demo recordings and we're excited to play this long-overdue double bill with them.

The photo above was taken at our show last month at Lizard Lounge by Steve Benoit of Boston Concert Photography. You can see more photos from last month's show by Steve Benoit and Reid Simpson (Hear and There Photography) on our Facebook page.


Beat Circus sound check, 2010 Union Pool Brooklyn, by Dave Bias

Beat Circus started rehearsing again last week in preparation for recording our fourth album in May. This is the final part in the Weird American Gothic trilogy starting with Dreamland in 2008 and Boy From Black Mountain in 2009. A few of the songs were commissioned by the Berkeley Repertory Theater in California for the play The Barbary Coast. Stay tuned for more news on that front.


On Friday nights March 18th and April 1st I'll be hosting my irregular radio show Free Association on WZBC 7-10pm EST. Guest Terry Donahue from the Alloy Orchestra will be joining me on March 18th at 7pm EST to talk about their music for silent films. You can listen live here or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

Hope to see you in April...


New Music for a New Year

Happy new year!

New Music for a New Year

Running off the success of our release last fall of The Far End of the World, we've been busy working on new songs for the next record. We'll be debuting many of these new songs on Thursday, February 25th at Lizard Lounge, once again teaming up with the great Thalia Zedek Band. Mark your calendars. We hope to see you there.

Critical Acclaim for The Far End of the World

Last year our record The Far End of the World received widespread critical acclaim, landing on James Reed's list of Best Local Albums of 2015 in the Boston Globe and garnering lots of praise. Get your copy today in beautiful 180g vinyl, CD, or digitally at our online store, iTunes, or Amazon.

"Carpenter's most revealing record yet...Americana by way of David Lynch's Lost Highway" -- James Reed, Boston Globe

"Brian Carpenter & The Confessions exude the sort of dignified darkness you would expect given the company he keeps...bound to become a big name" -- Chris DeVille, Stereogum

"A stunning piece of dark Americana..." -- Adrien Begrand, PopMatters

"Brian Carpenter is a hard man to pin down...for one, there's the fact that he seems to be juggling several projects at once. Then there's the eccentric diversity of those projects, each of them uncategorizable in their own right" -- Shaun Brady, The Key

"A fitting soundtrack to an episode of True Detective or a David Lynch unpredictable, but fascinating listen." -- UTNE Reader



Beat Circus at Highline Ballroom in NYC, Halloween 2011

Beat Circus at Highline Ballroom in NYC, Halloween 2011

Beat Circus will be heading back into the studio in May of this year to record Album #4, the third part of their Weird American Gothic trilogy, following Dreamland in 2008 and Boy From Black Mountain in 2009. The new record will feature new material plus songs from the play The Barbary Coast commissioned in 2012-14 by the Berkeley Repertory Theater in California. The Barbary Coast is based on the true crime book by Herbert Asbury on the rise of San Francisco during the Gold Rush era.

Love to you all. Hope to see all of you this year.

Brian Carpenter

Critical Acclaim for The Far End of the World

Reviews are in for the debut album by Brian Carpenter and The Confessions, The Far End of the World, available now on iTunes and our online store.

Here's what the press is saying...

"Carpenter's most revealing record yet...Americana by way of David Lynch's Lost Highway" -- James Reed, Boston Globe

"A stunning piece of dark Americana" -- Adrien Begrand, PopMatters

"The sort of dignified darkness you would expect...seems bound to become a big name" -- Chris DeVille, Stereogum

"In the center of this country-folk noir is Carpenter's voice...while the songs sound spare, they're full of musical character" -- Linda Laban, Village Voice

"His debut album with The Confessions would be a fitting soundtrack to an episode of True Detective or a David Lynch film. An unpredictable, but fascinating listen" -- UTNE Reader




Hot Town makes NPR List of Best Jazz Albums of 2015

Francis Davis has included Ghost Train Orchestra's Hot Town in his Top 10 List of 2015 Jazz Albums. Hot Town is Ghost Train Orchestra's third album, picking up where Hothouse Stomp left off, with guest Colin Stetson on bass saxophone.

"At once faithful and resolutely postmodern in its approach to the most vintage material jazz has to offer, Ghost Train Orchestra's antic Hot Town delivers...the sound of surprise can come from music long past, music only those of us in the here-and-now have never heard before." -- Francis Davis, NPR

New video premiere of This Lonely Road

This Lonely Road, a music video shot and directed by Joshua Black Wilkins, with music by Brian Carpenter & The Confessions, premieres today on Relix. The video was shot in Boston and New York City and stars Jessica Elizabeth Cole, Brian Carpenter, and The Confessions.

Village Voice premieres Savior of Love

The Village Voice is premiering Savior of Love, a short film shot by Emmy-winning director Dan Huiting with assistance from Heather Byington, and music by Brian Carpenter & The Confessions. The film was shot in the ghost town of Amboy, California in the Mojave Desert and stars Robert Schober, Jen Kenneally (of The Confessions), Tim Boissey, and Brian Carpenter. 

Linda Laban wrote a great piece on the making of The Far End of the World in an interview with Brian Carpenter.

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